19 May 2020: HNB FINANCE Limited. (CSE: HNBF), a leading Sri Lankan financial services provider, announced that the company’s shares are now listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange under the Diri-Savi Board. The first to be listed in over two years, HNB FINANCE’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) via an Offer for Sale on the Colombo Stock Exchange, was oversubscribed by a significant 32% on its opening day in February, a figure which indicates a high level of investor confidence.
Commenting on the recent listing, Jonathan Alles, Chairman of HNB FINANCE, said, “The successful listing of HNB FINANCE on the CSE is the culmination of several years of focused effort to bolster our internal capacity while driving innovation in our product portfolio, and supported by resilient and trusting relationships with a large and growing customer base.
“While globally and nationally, we must now grapple with the emerging challenges of a post-COVID landscape, we remain confident in our ability to reach out to customers and provide them with essential financial services that will play a vital role in reinvigorating our economy from the grassroots upwards. The highly positive reaction that we have received from investors through HNBF’s timely listing on the CSE is ample testament to these achievements in driving a transformational, technology-driven business model. As ever, we remain determined to further consolidate on this success and continue generating value for all stakeholders.”
With the listing, HNB FINANCE is now poised to power ahead with a series of strategic investments aimed at re-engineering process architecture to better drive front-end operational efficiencies Similarly, the company will also be strengthening core IT systems infrastructure and optimizing resources for business growth, in order to enable business continuity, improve information security and reduce cost.
Chaminda Prabhath, Managing Director/CEO of HNB FINANCE Limited, commented, “We are delighted to initiate trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange, especially after our initial public offering was oversubscribed on its opening day. As we welcome our new stakeholders, our confidence in HNBF’s strong positioning has also grown and we anticipate significant and sustainable growth despite a uniquely challenging operating environment. As a pioneer in microfinance in Sri Lanka, we are currently investing heavily in solutions that will enhance our service standards and create value in the current global climate through digitisation, development of alternate channels and process re-engineering.”
“The company is also keenly focused on addressing asset quality, strengthening risk and governance frameworks, and – most importantly – building a robust and experienced team who can bring to life HNBF’s progressive vision to be a leader in innovative, technology-driven financial solutions,” he added.
Over the recent past, the company has also focused heavily on developing digital channels – from internet to mobile platforms and tab banking – in order to rapidly expand its reach in a cost-effective and efficient manner, with a special emphasis on digital mediums.
With a Fitch rating of ‘A (lka) under its belt, HNB FINANCE has re-energised its business operations, from a streamlined workflow to efficient people management. The company has also successfully introduced an array of new financial products to a highly-researched target market and made a significant impact through rebranding as well as strategic investments in technology and innovation.
HNB FINANCE Ltd is a subsidiary of Hatton National Bank Plc, which owns 51% of its Ordinary Voting Shares, while Prime Lands Pvt. Ltd. will own 38.86% of the Ordinary Voting Shares after the completion of the IPO.
In 2011, Prime Lands Pvt. Ltd. acquired a major stake of the finance company through a restructuring plan and was then rebranded Prime Grameen Microfinance Ltd. Backed by over 25 years of experience, Prime Lands Pvt. Ltd. is today one of largest pioneering forces in the Sri Lankan construction and real estate industry with numerous local and international accolades to its name. The company’s strong business acumen coupled with prudent management tactics turned around the company’s performance. Within two short years, Prime Grameen Microfinance Ltd. reached a commendable position as a profit-making financial company.
In 2014, Hatton National Bank Plc acquired 51% controlling stake in Prime Grameen Microfinance Ltd. and subsequently changed the company name to HNB Grameen Finance Ltd; at which point the company diversified its portfolio to cater to a new segment of small-scale enterprises and leasing solutions. With a legacy spanning over 125 years, HNB Plc is Sri Lanka’s biggest and oldest private commercial bank in the country.
In 2017, Developing World Market (DWM) Funds S. C. A. SICAV SIF, a private equity fund registered in Luxembourg and managed from Singapore, acquired 7.93% of the company. The fund added outstanding value to the company, driven by its particular expertise in the microfinance industry.
In 2018, HNB Grameen Ltd. was rebranded HNB Finance Ltd. in a strategic move to benefit from the strong position of the parent company Hatton National Bank Plc. This transition from a purely Grameen-based lending institution to a fully-fledged, holistic financial services organisation expanded the company’s portfolio to include solutions in microfinance, small-scale enterprises, small & medium-sized enterprises, savings, fixed deposits, leasing and gold loans.
Gearing up to attain greater heights, HNB FINANCE is a trusted and leading player in the nation’s microloans landscape. Proving its mettle as a player to be reckoned with, HNB FINANCE has won many local and international accolades in recent times. In 2019, it was ranked among Asia’s best workplaces, and clinched numerous awards owing to its superlative marketing approach. It’s island-wide branch network is also recognised for the many CSR initiatives implemented to support the nation. The company also secured the silver award at the National Business Excellence Awards in the Non-Banking category. In December 2019, aiming to comply with the Tier II capital requirement and to expand its loan portfolio, HNB FINANCE issued debentures amounting to Rs. 1.16 billion, and obtained a listing for the debentures on the Colombo Stock Exchange.
Today, HNB FINANCE has gained significant market share and has established itself as a trusted and respected finance company. Hatton National Bank Plc’s financial and business strength and stability places HNB Finance Ltd. at an advantageous position to pursue greater heights.